Music and Technology

Yesterday, my family purchased the new Jeff Lynne album Long Wave as well as his album of remade Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) songs titled Mr. Blue Sky.  My wife Haley and I spent the first few years together listening to nothing but Jeff Lynne and ELO so this release day was pretty special to us.  In fact, on one of our trips from Pennsylvania to Maine we listened to every ELO song and rated them.  At the end of that project, we compiled a Best of ELO playlist (which I hope I can find and share soon…we wrote it down in a notebook, long before Spotify!)

Today, I took those CD’s and ripped them to iTunes.  The files automatically synced to my Dropbox folder. The next step was firing up the music.  My Last.Fm scrobbler started up and let the world know that I was diggin’ these new albums.  Then I synced them to my Google Music account so that my wife (back at home working her butt off raising our two awesome boys) could listen to them with our Google TV at home.  Once that was done, I clicked share on my favorite Jeff Lynne track from Long Wave and shared that YouTube video on Google+ (which you can learn about here). And last but not least, I manually put them on my trusty old 80GB classic iPod which I carry around everywhere.

The point of this post?  When combined, technology and music can do some really awesome things.  I love being able to listen to, share, and backup my music with just a few simple clicks.  The best part of this?  It’s just going to keep on getting better.


Technology, Things


It’s only been a week, but I am fond of Google+ and here’s why.  Facebook is good and all, but I always had trouble with just putting it all out there.  Yes, I know there are ways of limiting what you share, but so much emphasis is placed on controlling who you share to on Google+ that it just makes it feel easier.  The layout of the stream is easy on the eyes and has yet to overwhelm me.  Granted, this thing is just starting out, so it may only be a matter of time before it all gets clogged up, but for now I am enjoying it very much.
I don’t see what the rage about QR codes is.  Personally, I don’t know a lot of people with smart phones.  The ones that do have them will just do a quick Google search for what they’re looking for.  The teens I work in my library don’t even have access to their own computer let alone something to scan a weird looking barcode.  At the same time, this isn’t boring but I don’t see many folks going this route.
I was lucky enough to be one of the people that got a Google Chrome CR-48 netbook before they hit the stores a few months ago.  It is an amazing little machine that pretty much does everything I need to do when I’m on a computer.  Between a steady internet connection, Google Docs, and Google Talk, I’m all set for about 99% of my computer needs.
It drives me nuts though that I can’t do anything but that.  As much as I am a Google super user, I still really like iTunes and iPods for organizing/collecting/listening to music.  I wish there was a bit more flexibility with both companies in regards to their products.  I have all that I need when it comes to computing needs, so please don’t make me go out and buy another netbook just to manage my music.  This proprietary “THIS IS MY PRODUCT AND YOU HAVE TO USE IT LIKE I WANT YOU TO USE IT” shit is killing me and ultimately driving me away from your product.

I’ve only dove into Google Music and Amazon’s Cloud Player, but overall I’m not that impressed.  It could be my phone that needs some work (LG Ally Android) but Music Beta is slow, clunky, and many times unresponsive.  Amazon’s Cloud Player is just boring, and I’m not all that into buying MP3’s through Amazon (I think it’s an age thing.  In my youth I relied heavily on them for import CD’s).  I love the idea of having a vast library of music at my fingertips, but I actually want it to load, stream well, and sound good.  So far, that isn’t happening.
“Capture.  Reflect.  Improve” is their slogan, and that’s just about all you need to know.  I log onto MercuryApp twice a day to record my mood while at work.  They send me an email, tell me to update, and I do it.  Since I started using it about a year ago, my overall mood is 3.83 out of 5 while I am at work.  There’s also a log that allows me to give keywords to describe my moods, and it tells me that my most used words are “feeling, person, teens, day, work, library, good, ready, are, here”.  You can learn a lot about yourself through this little website.  Now, developers, where’s my Android app?
I see the power of tablets  everyday.  Sitting around the house, I use my iPad to tune into the news, check Twitter, and just stay connected to the world.  I explore Wikipanion and learn about topics that pique my interest at the time.  But the real beauty comes through when I see my 2.5 year old son Finn pick up the iPad and explore.  He’s been using it for about a year now to watch videos, draw, and more, and every day I see him getting more proficient at using it.  He’s skilled at finding the YouTube videos he wants to watch.  He scrolls, looks through recommendations, and finds what he wants.  I’m just waiting for the moment where he discovers spelling and searching.  This one observation has led me to end this blog post by standing up on virtual soapbox to proclaim this: tablets are the future.  Their ease of use, portability, and just interesting nature are the things that are going to guide us into so much more interesting technology in the near future.